Natasha Gale - a force of nature out to become next top female boxer

Natasha Gale
Natasha Gale

Last week saw the end of an era for British boxing as Natasha Jonas announced he decision to hang up her gloves.

Jonas was a true trailblazer, becoming the first British woman to box at the Olympics and along with gold medalist Nicola Adams, dramatically boosted the profile of the sport in this country.

A fresh new group of elite female boxers are looking to follow in the footsteps of both Adams and Jonas as women’s boxing grows.

And the next big thing could have been made in Sheffield.

Natasha Gale’s rise in boxing has been nothing short of remarkable.

Just two years ago Gale had never laced up a pair of gloves. Now, with just six fights under her belt, she is now a full time member of the GB Boxing coaching programme, based out of the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

“I was a manager at a gym but got made redundant and I was looking for something to do,” she said.

“My best mate Curtis is Nicola Adams’ brother and he said I should get into boxing.

“I went down to a gym in Bradford and it was really easy. It wasn’t really challenging so Curtis told me to go to see Alwin Belcher who trains Nicola.

“I was hooked and I just couldn’t get enough. I was bugging Alwin and he said to me ‘move to Sheffield and I’ll train you full time.’

“When I get on something, I get really on it so I just packed up and moved to Sheffield without knowing where I was going to live or anything.”

The gym Gale landed at under Belcher’s instruction was the Jubilee ABC in Hillsborough and she has been there ever since.

Guiding her along the way has been Jubilee’s head coach Robert Riley.

And without Riley’s influence, the 25-year-old admits she would not have progressed anywhere near as much in the sport.

She said: “Rob’s been unbelievable. I couldn’t have done it without him and Alwin.

“He’ll do absolutely anything for me and the other kids in the gym.

“I can ring him up, whatever the time and he’ll drop what he’s doing for me.

“His support has been incredible and he’s helped turn me into a boxer.

“I could never repay him for what he’s done.”

Next weekend, Gale will target her first ABA title as she competes at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in the national championships.

And while heading to Merseyside with her sights set on victory, Gale expects a tough time.

She said: “The difference this year is that I’m in the open category.

“As soon as you box for England you automatically go into the open category, no matter how many fights you’ve had.

“So I’m going to have to beat boxers with a lot more experience than me.

“It’s going to be tough but I’m going there to win. Nothing else.”

Becoming ABA champion is Gale’s immediate target but she says her ultimate goal is reaching the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

And given her rapid rise, who would back against a gold medal – and one forged in the Steel City.